ADF deployed into aged care as Covid-19 crisis swarms

Feb 08, 2022
The aged care sector is currently down 30 per cent of its workforce due to mass Covid-19 outbreaks. Source: Getty

Approximately 1700 Australian Defence Force troops will be deployed into aged care from Wednesday, February 9, as part of the Federal Governments’ efforts to assist the sector through the current Covid-19 crisis.

Australian Defence Force minister, Peter Dutton, made the call saying the defense was on a path to get things sorted out and to ensure residents were treated with respect.

The decision comes after the aged care sector appealed to the ADF for help in managing mass Covid-19 outbreaks and severe staff shortages within homes.

Currently, almost 12,000 aged care residents are infected with Covid-19 and 1176 aged care facilities are reportedly suffering from large-scale outbreaks.

The ADF troops will be separated into clinical, logistical and general help teams in an effort to manage the 30 per cent decline in aged care staff as a result of the crisis.


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“The Australian Defence Force is known for many things but principally, I think, their ability to organise, to get things sorted out and to make sure that we can treat people with dignity,” said Mr Dutton.

“That’s exactly what we’re on a path to do and I’m very proud of the work that they do.”

Despite the mass outbreaks of Covid-19 in the aged care sector, Mr Dutton said there has been no increase in the average number of deaths recorded, remaining at around 1000 per week.

“That is the reality with terminal diseases and cancers and dementia and other things as people get older,” he said.
CEO of Services Australia, Sean Rooney, explained that the aged care sector was grateful for the ADF assistance but that a number of underlying issues still remained.
“We need to get back to fixing the fundamentals, ensuring that we have enough staff who are adequately skilled and qualified and appropriately paid, and that services are funded to deliver all the care that’s needed to the level that’s desired,” said Mr Rooney.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had initially resisted moves to send the ADF into aged care homes, arguing that ‘not anyone’ can do the job of trained aged care staff.


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“Not anyone can walk in and shower and clean and do those important jobs. They are skilled jobs. They can’t be done by just anyone walking off the street,” Morrison said.

“There is not some imaginary workforce that can just come in when the workforce is furloughed by people getting Covid.”

The first four teams of ADF personnel will be deployed on Wednesday, February 9.

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